Haryana is set to witness a showdown between the state government and its employees on Tuesday and Wednesday with over two lakh likely to go on a two-day strike to support an ongoing stir by the roadways’ employees. Meanwhile, 28 Khap panchayats and several other organisations also held a protest at Rohtak on Monday in support of roadways’ employees. The staffers of state-run Haryana Roadways are on strike since October 16. On Monday, they extended the strike till November 2.
Sarv Karamchari Sangh (SKS) General Secretary Subhash Lamba said Monday that the agitating employees won’t disrupt the essential services like emergency health services, supply of electricity and power keeping in view the public interest. “It’s our in-principle decision that the employees will try to ensure essential services despite remaining on strike. Over two lakh employees from all departments will participate in the strike,” said Lamba. According to employee leaders as many 500 teams held gate-meetings on Monday asking them to join the strike.
Meanwhile, official sources have told The Indian Express that as many as 370 employees have either been suspended or terminated for participating in the strike as the strike was banned by the government imposing ESMA. “Despite that over 15,000 employees out of total 17,000 workforce of roadways is still on strike for the past 14 days. Those who are on duty include the employees who have joined the duties just few months back and have not completed their probation period apart from officers of the department,” said a junior officer requesting anonymity.
Haryana Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar has appealed the employees to join their duties keeping in view the festival season. A spokesperson of the government said that as many as 2,406 buses played on state roads on Monday.
The roadways employees are on strike to oppose decision of Haryana government in which it had decided to hire 720 private buses on kilometre basis. The employees are terming the decision an attempt to privatise the public transport services while the government says it can’t buy buses for all passengers. In reply to this, all employee unions have offered to contribute from their salary to enable the government to buy 720 buses.
Not too late to hold discussions: Chautala
Senior INLD leader and Leader of Opposition Abhay Singh Chautala has accused the state’s BJP government for “encouraging the private sector in important fields like health, education and transport”.
“This explains why Manohar Lal Khattar government has deliberately failed to utilise the services of the competent staff in health, education and transport. The apathy of the government in holding meaningful dialogue with the roadways unions is designed to take forward the agenda of privatisation, which is regrettable.”
Chautala also said that “even at this stage it is not too late to hold discussions with employees of the roadways and reach at an amicable agreement”.